No one wants to think they may run into a disaster when booking a hotel, sight unseen, but that is a reality for some. How can you protect your vacation (and your wallet) from the holiday booking blues? Here are some quick tips and fixes that can salvages some of your vacation:
1. Do the Research, Anyway
Every hotel is going to talk up their business. They are in the business of booking rooms. No one is going to say up front, “We have fleas and only change the sheets every third month of the year.” Check reviews across a variety of websites. Use Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau and ask around. Some even allow you to take a virtual tour.
2. Safety Check
We may be enticed by what the hotel offers on the inside, but do we know what is lurking on the perimeter? Use Google Maps or another site that allows you to get a street view of the hotel, villa or house that you are renting. Check it during various times of day. Check the crime rates for the address and zip code. You and your loved ones should be safe this travel season.
3. Outsource Travel Booking
Go with a professional travel agency. These professionals know the hotels they make reservations with, have long-standing relationships with them and satisfied customers they can connect you with for references. They can also help you book local travel and activities in the area.
4. Read the Fine Print
If you are using services like Airbnb, they have rules regarding safety and occupancy. Be sure you have read these before agreeing to stay and making a payment. You do not want to agree to something you haven’t read in full.
5. Circulate Complaints Through the Proper Channels
If all else fails and you must make complaints, be sure you know to whom you should complain. Find out in advance if accommodations can be made immediately and whether or not concerns need to be in writing.
If you are still dissatisfied, contact the local Better Business Bureau for assistance.
Have you had the vacation from hell? Tell us your story or contact us for more information on how to plan a better trip! Feel free to shoot us an email to on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!